By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
On the occasion of the 9th anniversary of 9/11, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) condemns the abominable perpetrators and likewise US imperialism for highjacking the outrage of the people and using it to justify far worse crimes of terrorism. We demand justice for the nearly 3000 victims in 9/11 as well as the millions of victims of the US wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, US military intervention in many other parts of the world and the rampage of state terrorism in many countries under US domination.
We recall the historical fact that the US, through the Central Intelligence Agency, promoted, funded and used Islamic fundamentalism so-called as a weapon of anti-communism during the Cold War and collaborated with such leaders of Al Qaeda as Osama bin Laden in fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, the US adopted the policy of letting the Afghan warlords fight each other and further destroy Afghanistan. As a consequence, Osama bin Laden and his fellow bigots resented what they deemed as betrayal by the US. The US and Pakistan decided to install the Taliban in power as their marionette. Nonetheless, the Al Qaeda developed its own influence within the Taliban in opposition to the US.
The US imperialists unwittingly created the monster Al Qaeda that they now hold guilty of the despicable acts of terrorism on September 11, 2001. The American and other peoples of the world are outraged by such acts and detest the perpetrators. The US government has a good reason to be enraged and to seek the punishment of the perpetrators. But it is deliberately and systematically using the 9/11 outrage in order to justify forms of terrorism far worse than 9/11.
Under the policy of global “war on terror”, the US has wantonly engaged in wars of aggression, deployed US forces for military intervention on a global scale, whipped up state terrorism in the US and abroad, promoted racism and religious bigotry and misrepresented national liberation movements as mere “insurgents” and “terrorists” in order to provide itself, its allies and puppets the license to violate with impunity the UN charter, international law and the laws on human rights and humanitarian conduct under conditions of war.
To win the US presidency, Barack Obama made promises to undo the widely-discredited “war on terrorism” begun by George W. Bush. But the Obama government has merely relabelled the policy as a “war of global counterinsurgency” and has equated “terrorism” and “insurgency”, in order to deny the character of national liberation movements as political movements of the people and violate their rights under the international law on armed conflict.
Far from reversing the thrust of the widely-discredited “war on terrorism” begun by George W. Bush, Barack Obama is now pushing US aggression, military intervention and provocation to an unprecedented scale to further expand and consolidate U.S. hegemony and preserve its supremacy amid the continuing global depression.
In the US, Obama approved the extension of the USA PATRIOT Act, rejecting proposed amendments that had sought to safeguard the citizens’ constitutional rights. In the Middle East, Obama recently boasted that he has kept his campaign promise of withdrawing US troops from Iraq, claiming an end to the US combat role there. But in fact, more than 50,000 US troops remain to train and advise Iraqi security forces, conduct so-called counter-terrorist operations, and protect US installations and personnel. All three missions, in reality and in accordance with US military doctrine, invariably and inevitably involve combat operations.
Obama has shifted the focus of US aggression to Afghanistan where there are 94,000 US troops and more than 50,000 from other nations, mostly belonging to NATO. US troops occasionally cross over to Pakistan to conduct punitive operations against purported Al Qaeda and Taliban forces. Here as in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and other countries suspected of harboring terrorists, the US has increasingly resorted to targeted killings or assassinations, rather than capture and prosecution, of suspected terrorist leaders, more than it had under the final years of the Bush administration. And in all instances, the assassinations are conducted regardless of the resultant destruction of property and death of innocent civilians.
Contrary to Obama’s pronouncements, the shift from Iraq to Afghanistan is not a shift from what Obama had earlier called a “dumb war” that “only serves the interest of Exxon and Mobil”. Obama’s war is a continuation of the US offensive to consolidate US supremacy and pre-empt the rise of a peer rival such as China or Russia. Aside from clearing and securing pipeline routes from the oil-rich Caspian region to the Indian Ocean, a US foothold in Central Asia would serve to tighten the noose around both China and Russia. The US is also making preemptive moves against its rivals elsewhere by establishing the US Africa Command and by stepping up intervention on the affairs of Latin American countries, especially in Colombia and Venezuela.
The US security establishment has recently come out with a flurry of “new” tactical and strategic materials and doctrinal revisions on “counterinsurgency”. These include a new Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual in 2006, a new Joint Operating Concept on Irregular Warfare in 2007, a new Army Field Manual on Stability Operations in 2008, the US Government Counterinsurgency Guide (US COIN) in 2009 and the renewed Joint Vision 2020, the conceptual framework for continued US imperialist military dominance worldwide for the next decade. These tracts draw heavily from the U.S. experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as from its previous counterrevolutionary wars in Vietnam, Korea, Philippines, El Salvador, Colombia and Guatemala, among others.
The US Counterinsurgency Guide and the Joint Vision 2020 both purport to stress the primacy of non-military aspects of US military engagements everywhere. The US COIN admits that it is primarily focused on “develop(ing) civilian literature on counterinsurgency to complement existing military doctrine. Similarly, the military field manuals pay lip service to the importance of combining military and non-military aspects and components, ostensibly reaffirming that “winning the people’s hearts and minds”’ is the key to defeating the “insurgency”.
But the US forces and their surrogates are everywhere preserving the oppressive and exploitative status quo and suppressing the people’s aspirations for change. Thus they invariably and increasingly resort to the use of force as the people rise up in greater numbers and strength. Clearly, the tenets laid down in the “new” counterinsurgency doctrine serve to prettify the brutal and naked force of US imperialism and to cloak US military intervention and aggression.
To try to shore up its declining political stature, the Obama government is engaged in a campaign of tokenism to try to fool the US electorate. It has made so much publicity of a timetable for the withdrawal of US occupation troops in Iraq by next year, but it hides the fact that the sprawling US military bases and facilities entrenched following the 2003 US invasion are nowhere near dismantlement. US troops by the tens of thousands are to stay on indefinitely in order to keep the puppet regime on leash and ensure US control of Iraqi oil resources and all kinds of business contracts.
The US is sponsoring multiparty peace talks in the Middle East, even succeeding in co-opting the Hamas administration in Palestine to go along. But it has not at all moved to hold the Israeli fascist regime accountable for flouting international law in committing the multifarious heinous crimes against the Palestinian people. The US and Israeli Zionists agree that the carnage of the Palestinians in Gaza has paved the way for the liquidation of the Palestinian people’s resistance.
Obama and his cohorts are hypocrites in making maximum political capital from an extreme US rightwing plan to hold an event on 9/11 this year burning copies of the Koran in Florida, but they wholeheartedly endorse past and current wars and acts of aggression by the US and its puppet regimes against the Muslim people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Syria, and Yemen, among others. Within the US itself, the USA PATRIOT Act continues undiminished in subverting and attacking the democratic rights of the American people.
US imperialism is a beast in the throes of severe economic, financial, political and social crisis. It feeds the financial oligarchy and the military-industrial complex with huge amounts of public money and inflicts on the people a high rate of unemployment, homelessness and deprivation of social services. It is hell bent on war and plunder against the peoples of the world. To dominate the world, it has the world’s biggest-funded arsenal, including the world’s most lethal set of nuclear weapons, and a network of about 800 US military bases garrisoning the globe.
But the US is confronted by rising multitudes of freedom-loving peoples all across the world who are fed up with the escalation of oppression and exploitation and who aspire and struggle to for a better world with greater freedom, social justice, development and peace. In this connection, the ILPS calls on all its member organizations and allies to intensify the global anti-imperialist and democratic struggle and bring it to a new and higher level.